BY DEAN HOCKNEY
“He is such a great kid.” You hear it so often from coaches, administrators and parents that it is almost a cliché. But for one local high school player, there is no cliché to it – he really is a great kid.
Hours after becoming only the fifth boys basketball player in Eastern High School history to score 1,000 points – and days before he is scheduled to sign a National Letter of Intent to play major college football at Michigan State University – it would be safe to assume Josiah Price could be found watching game film, lifting weights or shooting around the gym. But that assumption would be wrong. Price was on a plane to Honduras for a week of missionary work to talk to young people in an impoverished nation.
“What an outstanding kid he has been in all three of the sports he has participated in,” said Eastern Athletic Director Brad Wilson. “He is well mannered, well behaved, everything you would look for in a kid. He is a Christian kid – the kind you would want your daughter to marry. He is one of the friendliest kids in the school. He is a great leader and an overall all-around great individual.”
Price’s name will be forever etched into the history of Comet athletics. An All-State Top 50 football player in the fall, he has become a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood in the winter and will score plenty of points for the track and field team in the spring. But when asked what this all means – the records and the 1,000 points – Price doesn’t hesitate to put his faith first.
“First and foremost, I have to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Price said on the night he broke the 1,000 point barrier. “He has got me to where I am. I have worked hard to get here, but if it were not for Him to give me the abilities and talent I wouldn’t be anywhere right now.”
And then, after thanking God, he still wouldn’t talk about himself.
“I have to thank my teammates that I have had for the last four years,” said Price. “They have all been great and I can’t be thankful enough. And I have to thank Coach (Duane) Keisling and Coach (Kyle) Bedwell for allowing me to play. And of course, I have to thank my family because they have put up with a lot.”
And then, after thanking God, teammates, coaches and family, Price finally said it was okay to talk about himself and what this moment means.
“It is a relief,” said the football tight end who scored his 1,000th point with the Michigan State quarterbacks coach in attendance. “But I was a little nervous coming in. We originally thought I needed 15 points, but when they told me I needed 20 I thought that those extra five points would be hard to get. I was really hoping it would happen tonight so we could get it over with.”
And happen it did against county rival Taylor Friday night. With a rowdy Comets student section counting down every point he scored – Price put a shot up under the basket and was fouled. Number 13, which is not unlucky to Price, calmly stepped to the line and drained the free throw that sent the Greentown crowd into a frenzy. The game was briefly stopped as teammates and opponents congratulated Price on becoming the 28th Howard County male to hit the milestone. Wilson presented the game ball to Price with a firm handshake, and they were joined at mid-court for pictures with his proud parents.
“It was a special moment,” said Price, who might have had a tear in his eye after making the free throw. “It was special.”
Price also credits Eastern football coach Josh Edwards for his accomplishments on the basketball court and football field.
“I have to thank Coach Edwards for getting me into the weight room,” said the three-sport star. “He made me the athlete I am today. I had the ability but I wouldn’t have the strength needed if it were not for Coach Edwards coming in and working me out and making me the man I am today.”
Price said before he became a Division 1 football recruit, it was basketball that he loved most. He said he started playing the Indiana pastime during his days as a middle school student.
“When I was in middle school, that’s all I did all the time. I played about an hour-and-a-half of basketball every day,” said Price. “And then my eighth grade year I kind of switched and fell in love with football. But it was in middle school that I developed my ball handling skills.”
Price’s name will join fellow Eastern 1,000 point scorers Dick Mugg, Rick Stout, Scott Mugg and Brady Richie. His name also joins the ranks Howard County legends Jimmy Rayl, Goose Ligon, Bruce Rose, Charlie Hall, Austin Parkinson, Drew Conner and current Michigan State basketball star Brandon Wood as one of the best scorer’s in history.
“Like I said, God has blessed me tremendously,” said Price. “I have a great family who has raised me the right way and I am just thankful.”
After thinking about Price for a moment, Wilson summed up his thoughts by saying, “There is no doubt he will be a success at Michigan State. He is one of the best athletes to come through Eastern High School in a long time. He is just a great kid.”
No cliché there.